Hybrid Book Binding Method - Neat Edges, Tear-Out Pages, Easily Replacable Cover/Pages

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Introduction:

I've been trying to make myself a notebook for ages. Every year or so I get the urge to make one but I always fail. I couldn't get the edge of the book to come out neat without getting the pages cut by someone with the proper tools/machinery. I've searched and searched for different book binding methods, but none allow for what I need. I've had to settled for store bought notebooks like Moleskines, Ecosystem Notebooks, and Kokuyo Campus Notebooks. Each has their own great features, but none allow for everything I need. Levenger Circa Notebooks look like the only notebooks that would come close to what I need, but I can't afford to spend that much on the hole puncher they sell and I don't like how big the rings are.

But anyways, with school starting soon and me having moved to a different country, I wouldn't be able to get any of the notebooks I'd grown accustomed to using so the urge to make my own came back. I took the weekend and experimented with a few binding ideas I had in mind until something worked.

This binding method allows for:

- Tear-Out Pages - Without needing to resort to a sewing machine, or a ruler, although I have made a special tool to do just this in cases where the binding doesn't allow for it for other notebooks. I still occasionally use it because sometimes with this binding the page is too secure, but in a pinch it's nice to be able to tear a page out without leaving a trace it was ever there. You can even tear half the book out and the binding should hold (it did with the mini books).
- A Variety of Paper to be Used - Plain White Paper, Cream Colored Paper, Sketchbook Paper, Printed Templates, Watercolor Paper, Canvas Paper, Plastic Separators.
- A Hard or Soft Cover
- The Outer Cover to Be Replaced - I like to switch things up once in a while, but normal book jackets are fragile so I used a different approach. And the binding should be easily cut out if needed to form a larger book, and the real cover should be usable at least one more time.
- Neat Edges Without the Need to Cut Afterwards.
- Large or Medium Notebooks - Paper Size or Half That.

The only downside to this process is how time consuming it is. It took me about 3 days, but then again I did try 2-3 ideas for the cover (most of which failed) and my printer was acting up a lot. It might take you a full day or two to get right.

Materials Needed:

For Binding (Steps 1 - 5):

Paper- Whichever type you want. The size doesn't matter, but it should be either the final page size or twice that. I'll be using A4, folding it in half, and tearing it. I wouldn't recommend going any smaller (folding the paper into fourths) because you probably won't be able to cut all the edges exactly the same. The point of this method is to take advantage of the already machine cut straight edges of the paper you're using. If you're including random pieces of special paper, such as canvas paper which comes in large sheets, you will have to cut them by hand as neatly as possible.
X-Acto Knife or Razor Blade
Butter Knife (Optional)
White Glue
Hot Glue Gun
Crazy Glue (Optional) - If the book is thin you'll probably be needing it.
2 Clothes Pins, Clamps orBinder Clips- They don't have to be that strong, but if they are it makes
Stiff Cardboard ~ Width of the Paper or Piece of Wood - I didn't have them when I did this (they're in boxes still) but those sticks you use to stir paint would work really well and I believe in most places you can get them for free.
Permanent Pen


Base Cover (Plain Cardboard+ Masking Tape Spine) (Steps 5 - 8):

- 2 Pieces of Paper - In this case A4. Colored, decorated, printed, whatever you want.If you're going to paint over it, it should be thicker if possible.
- 1 Piece of Thick Cardboard - Anything a bit larger than an A4 should be enough. for the thickness I bought 3mm, but it really looks more like 2mm.
- Double Sided Tape (Alternative = White Glue) - Double Sided Tape works better. I haven't tried glue but it will probably wrinkle too much.
- Hot Glue Gun(Alternative = White Glue or Spray Adhesive) - Hot Glue dries faster so it might be hard to center things, but White Glue might leave wrinkles. You'll need binder clips or clamps if you'll be using white glue. The spray method is really complicated but comes out best. You'll need newspaper or scrap paper if you do it that way.
- Masking Tape - Although other tapes should work I had this one hand. I thought the texture would allow things to adhere better (they probably help with the spray adhesive but white glue definitely does not stick). I would try to get as wide a masking tape as possible though. Or you'll have to do what I did.

- For a Fabric Cover (Step 9-10)

. WARNING: I still do not have this type of cover down. I had a lot of issues with it and wasted an entire day trying to make it. In Step 9 you can see some pictures, the problems I had and my suggestions. Finally made a Fabric Cover and have updated the steps.

. Base Cover Done (Spine Tape is Optional) and some of it's Materials
. Fabric - Something thick but not too thick. The glue shouldn't be able to pass through it. The first time I used some plain old cotton fabric (BIG mistake). This time around I used a weird expensive curtain material that was similar to some fake leathers.
. Spray Glue - This might be a bit expensive but it will last forever and might come in handy for other DIY projects.
. Scissors
.Cardboard or Cereal Box Paper Works but you'll need a lot and it's difficult to work with because once you spray it once it absorbs all the glue and becomes all not stiff and useless.


- For a Paper Cover(Step 11):

. The Base Cover Cut Out (Do NOT Finish It)
. 2 Pieces of Paper
. Regular Tape



- For a Changeable Book Jacket/Envelope Cover Thing (Step 12):

. Base Cover Done
. 4 Pieces of Paper
. Double Sided Tape
. Regular Tape

. Scissors


For a Softcover (?Coming Soon?):

Base Cover Not Needed

Coming Soon. You can always try to make one yourself. There's plenty of instructables out there. My idea is to make the soft cover out of Canvas Paper, I'm not sure about flexibility around the spine though. I have an idea about how to go about it but my canvas paper is still in one of my unopened moving boxes for now.

How to Replace Binding/Make Larger Books (?Other Instructable?):

Coming Later? Maybe...

In Step 10 you can see me taking out the pages from the failed fabric cover, but I'm not going to go into the whole process of replacing the cover completely and making larger books out of smaller ones, mainly because I haven't tried it, I only have vague ideas which I described, but I'd need to fill out two related notebooks to do an instructable.

Teacher Notes

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Step 1: Printing Templates and Booklets

My Templates:

I made the following templates to use with my books. Feel free to use them and edit them. They're under a CC license (non-commercial, share-alike), details are in the included Read Me. They can be found HERE.

Covers Used Here
Graph Paper
Graph Paper divided every 3 lines.
Graph Paper divided every 5 lines.
Lined Paper (6mm rule)
Dotted Lined Paper (6mm rule)
Music Sheet
Music Sheet with Guides (two extra faded lines on top and bottom)
Dots (6mm spaced)

There's a few more variations (with/without borders, 2 templates per page on A4/Letteror 1 template per page on Half an A4/Letter) included in the zip download. I did not make full size A4/Letter templates, but I might if I need them or if enough people request it. I've included the PSDs if you want to edit them. All the templates have a line on top for the title. In this book I made I printed one and decided I didn't like it. I left it for the package since as you'll see it's easy to take out any rows/lines you don't want.

I used the Dots Template for this book. I needed it for a math class where both writing and graphs are necessary and I hate writing on graph paper for math. Also the dots hardly use any ink.

Other Templates:

You might be interested in looking at the following...

Moleskine's MSK Templates
Chronodex Planner - This is the coolest idea ever! Too bad I don't have much happening on most days, which is what made me develop the above planner mod.

Instructions:

1. Get the template or templates you want. If you're doing something that needs to be in a specific order (a planner) read Booklet Mode. Photoshop wasn't cooperating with me so I used Word (2007). Be sure to set the image if it's the paper's size to 100% (Right Click > Size) and to set the paper to the correct size (Page Layout > Size). If you want to get rid of any rows or lines, make a square around that area than set the fill to white and the border to white (Insert > Shapes).

2. Ctrl+P Set it to print x copies. 50 in my case.

3. Set your printer to the correct paper size, A4 in my case. I set mine to fine and slow printing because otherwise it made strange lines as it tried to make so many dots so fast, but this depends on the state of your printer and how well it prints on economy. Either way as I mentioned the dot pattern should not waste much ink if you want to set the printer to high quality printing. I also chose print with black ink only or you could see blue in gray areas.

4. Print a page, if too much clipping occurs, turn on borderless printing if your printer has it. If not or it won't borderless print A4, try to get what you're printing to fit inside the area it does print. Photoshop has the option to fit the image on the page BUT for some reason Photoshop misalignes the templates for me, so I just used word.

5. If the pattern is too light I know Word lets you mess around with the Brightness and Contrast. Turning the print quality up will also probably give you darker lines. You can also multiply the image if you have an image editor with layers.

6. My pages didn't need to be in a specific order so I just printed x copies of this template, checked how to feed the pages back in (the print on both sides option didn't work well), and printed the template on the other side.

7. Print a test pages, fold, check the template lines up right (it won't line up perfectly, but it shouldn't be more than 2-3mm off). Or with my templates, I made a line where the pages should fold. I didn't need it after I checked the alignment so I used the Word shape method to make it disappear.

8. Print a few more pages and check the order if you need to.

9. Check you have enough ink left or on hand to print what you're going to print and start printing. This might take a long time depending on the printer. Make sure the sound won't bother anyone. I was at this step for about 3 hours (not counting the 4 hour nightmare I had with the printer drivers) and the sound started to get on my nerves. Check back every half hour or so to check pages aren't falling everywhere and you haven't run out of ink/pages, and everything is printing cleanly.

Booklet Mode: Your printer should have a booklet mode, use that (in single fold) if you need to print something in order. I didn't need it. Some printers have the option to print on both sides and will take care of the whole process, others will give you instructions on how to feed the papers back in. Note each page (each half) must be a separate page. Also note that the printing on both sides option is NOT an alternative for booklet mode. Pages will print out of order if you just use that. If you don't have a booklet option, read the Note below, it might be your best bet.

Note: I'm sure it's also possible to do this step after the next one (cutting/folding), or if you're not going to cut/fold (your paper is already the right size). But you'd have to adjust the size of the paper in the printer settings (if you've already cut and folded) and either turn on printing on both sides or print odd pages first, feed back in, and then print the even ones. I included the half an A4/Letter in the template packet for this reason.

Step 2: Cutting the Paper

1. Get your paper. If your paper is already the size the book is going to be, skip this step.

2. I made my book with 100 pages, so I got 50 sheets of plain A4 paper (and a few extras just in case) that I had printed and started folding them in half. Try to make the folds as absolutely perfect as possible. Yes it's a pain, but the work will pay off. After I folded each I folded them the backwards and/or flattened them with my nail. You don't have to but it helps with this next part.

3. Once everything is folded you can start tearing each page in half. I recommend tearing and not cutting because it creates a fuzzy edge that lets the glue adhere better. A warning though, this fuzzy edge might create problems if you've decided to print stuff on the pages after this step.

4. I get a cup of water (or saliva, gross I knows, but it works), dip my finger or lick it and run it along the edge 2-3 times, than tear. It will tear perfectly 99% of the time. Be careful not to put too much liquid on, water will try to run down the sides and soak in too much creating rips (hence why I prefer saliva...). With this book I only ripped 2 pages.

Note: If you're using a weird paper size for a certain number of pages, canvas paper for example, you'll have to cut out each page individually as neatly as possible if they don't come in the correct size. I recommend using a metal ruler and a craft knife.

Step 3: Glueing the Pages Together

1. Gather all your pages in order (double check the order, especially with planners and calendars) with the fuzzy edges on ones side. If the papers didn't have a fuzzy edge I recommend running a ruler or razor perpendicular to the pages to roughen the edge up.

2. Line up the neat edges. However you line them up now is how they're going to look when you're done.

3. Place two strips of cardboard near the fuzzy edge but not on it or you'll glue the cardboard to the pages. Clamp the pages down with binder clips at each end. For this part it's not really important for the clothes pins, clamps or binder clips to be tight, they just need to keep the pages together and the other 3 edges straight.

4. Now place a strip of white glue along the edge. Use your finger and rub it in. Once the whole spine is covered leave it to dry for a few minutes than take the clothes pins or binder clips off, the pages will stay together if you're careful. Now move the strips of cardboard on top of the edge. (they shouldn't glue themselves to the pages now). Now place everything in strong clamps if you have them or beneath a few heavy books like in the picture. the pages won't stick to the books / anything else because of the cardboard strips.

5. Leave for a few hours until dry. Don''t worry if you see some warping. It's bound to happen. It's hardly noticeable later (by later I mean a few days) If you feel you didn't place the pages under enough books or the clamps weren't strong enough and it warped too much (way more than my photo) re-wet the spine with glue, place more weight on it and leave it to dry again.

6. After it's dry take off the cardboard strip. Lift it away from the spine and it should come off easily without tearing anything.

Step 4: Cutting the Grooves

1. Now that it's dry you can either place the pages back in really strong cramps or hold the pages against your leg. I did this almost midair sometimes and my pages didn't get damaged at all, but if you're fearful or grap to strong, put them in the clamps again.

2. Get a ruler if you want and mark where you're going to put the grooves or do it by eye. I make one at every centimeter but with 4-5 grooves the book should hold. Make sure to make one mark near the ends (1/2 cm from it). Note that the less grooves you make the easier it is to take out pages

3. Get a craft knife and start cutting. In the picture I'm holding it lamely with my left hand because I'm trying to take a picture, but try to position the blade like I did, don't try to saw at it (it will take forever). Try to make the cuts about one or two millimeters deep. Also, the spine has a slight curve, make sure you're cutting into the pages in the middle.

4. Now get a ruler or butter knife or even the back of the blade and run it back and forth along the cuts to widen them a bit. This is hard to explain but place the edge of the blade/knife at an angle (so not like the picture this time) and switch between the right and left edges of the edge. ...Hope that makes sense.

5. The grooves should start to look like the one in the picture. Not deeper but wider.

Step 5: Hot Glue Reinforcement

The binding is pretty strong without this step, but if you don't do this you can't tear out pages because the whole binding will fall apart when you do. You also can't skip directly to this step because cutting the grooves without the pages glued is hard and I found the hot glue doesn't like to stick to the paper well. The other alternative would be to glue a piece of fabric to the spine but it wouldn't sink into the grooves, which is what makes this binding so strong. In my tests with the mini books pages would fall out if the book had no grooves.

1. Let the hot glue gun heat up for a bit. It should start to drip glue that doesn't cool as immediately as the first few drops.

Weird tip: Lick your fingers and you'll be able to touch the glue quickly without it sticking to you and burning your skin. This also let's you check the temperature.

2. Slowly making your way down the spine, releasing/pushing the glue into the grooves, than flattening it with the flat side of the glue gun tip/cone thing like shown. Try to not make this layer of glue too thick. The thinner it is, the less likely it is to fall off. Glue will most likely stick out like shown, but don't worry about it.

5. Once the hot glue is dry grab a pair of scissors and cut off the excess. I find using a craft knife doesn't work well. It wants to lift the glue up. But even with the scissors don't cut so much that you get rid of the glue on the spine.

4. Pass over the edges you just cut with the glue gun to stick them back down.

Flips through the pages, and fold the spine a bit to check the hot glue doesn't become unstuck. I found that if you have too few pages (less than half a centimeter), it falls off. With thicker spines it won't happen. If it does fall off, you can probably glue it back together with crazy glue (I haven't tried this but it should work), the gel kind will probably work perfectly.

Step 6: Base Cover - Cutting

1. Get a folded piece of A4 (maybe some of the ones that didn't print right) and place it on the thick cardboard.

2. My cardboard didn't have straight edges so I used the paper to guide me.

3. I made lines on the outer 3 sides, but NOT the spine, 2-3 mm from the paper. Repeat for the other side, but let the two covers share one side so the length of the spine will be perfectly equal.

4. Cut with a craft knife. I find scissors tend to distort the straight edges because of the thickness of the cardboard.

5. Label the spine. You'll find I went further in other picture and labeled the top/bottom, you don't have to. I don't even know why I did it. You choose the back/front. This labelled side will be the inside though.

Step 7: Base Cover - Merging

Paper Covers: Do not do this step yet, skip to Step 10 than come back and follow the rest of the instructable.
Fabric Covers: You can do this step if you want, but don't use as much tape or else your spine might come out too stiff. Now skip to Step 9.

1. Get a piece of masking tape and place it sticky side up on the table. Get one piece of cardboard and stick the edge to it. Do the same for the other half. Unless you have a really wide tape, in which case this will be easier.

2. Measure your spine than add a centimeter. Trust me, it's better if your spine is bigger than smaller (as you'll see in Step 9 where I failed completely at this). In this case I needed a 2 centimeter distance.

3. Stick your ruler at 2 cm to the tape.

4. Move the other cardboard half over and align with the zero on the ruler. Lay the half down trying to keep the edges parallel.

5. Now that they're connected run around 2-3 more layers of masking tape around the spine.

6. If you're using thin tape like I am make sure in the last wrap the seam is in the middle and not the sides. With my first book I noticed the 2 seams I had from wrapping one piece around the middle started to peal off.

7. Run your fingernail against the tape than take the book and bend the spine to get rid of the stiffness. I grabbed the two edges and sort of rolled them against each other.

8. Place the pages inside and check the fit. You can always cut the tape off and redo this step if the spine is too big. Also decide which cover is going to be the front/back and mark it.

9. Very Important. I forgot to do it for this book. If you want to just use this base cover and changeable covers all the time but never the base alone and seeing the color of the masking tape spine bothers you...

Cut out 2 small pieces of paper (about 4x4 cm) of the color your covers are most likely to be and wrap them around the top and bottom edges of the spines. Glue them down with some glue, spray glue, or super glue, White glue won't stick to the masking tape but it will stick to the cardboard and should be enough.

Step 8: Connecting the Pages to the Covers

I usually do this with a hot glue gun but mine died just as I was about to do this so I used Spray Glue.

Spray Glue Method:

1. Get two pieces of A4 plain, decorative, etc paper and fold them in half. Originally I was using black construction paper but I wasted it on my attempt with the fabric cover so I used some of the extra dots I'd printed out. When I tore out the binding from the fabric cover I was left with 98 pages so this gave me the 2 I was missing back.

If your book is meant to be A4 size you'll have to get bigger construction paper and cut it to the size of an A3 (double an A4).

Note: DO NOT mark the top and bottom edges of the paper you'll see I did. It was a stupid idea. I ended up not needing them and now you can see them :(

2. Get a piece of paper, nothing fancy, one that printed wrong or something. cut two lines parallel to each other about 1/2 an inch apart. Or alternatively if were doing the fabric cover and got cardboard, use that, it's much much easier.

3. Get your folded piece of A4 and mark where it starts and ends on top of the two lines you just cut.

4. Now cut two lines a bit inside those lines you just marked creating a rectangular.

5. You should now have the template to use the spray glue/adhesive to merge the book. Center it along the spine and mark where it stops and ends on the book spine.

6. Get some paper bags or newspaper, or as I did an old shower curtain and lay it out.

7. Set down your materials. Spray. Folded Pages (Check it's facing up if it's a design). Cover.

8. Line up the template to the lines we made. Cover the book with a piece of paper where it's exposed so it won't get sprayed.

9. Follow directions and spray. I made 2 quick passes.

10. Lift the template and piece of paper covering the book. Get your folded sheet and line it up the distance you want it from the cover. I suggest noting this before you start and checking that the folded edge of the paper hits the spine, than lay it slowly onto the glue.

11. Do the same with the other side. Be sure the template isn't two sticky or that it accidentally stick and that you don't start getting glue all over the book (another mistake I made...). This is easier if you used cardboard.

12. Now you can use double sided tape or spray glue and another piece of scrap paper like I show in the picture to glue the rest of the cover down.

13. To Glue the other half of the sheet to the book/pages I used white glue, but before I was using my glue gun. You place a thing strip about the with of the template we made, line up the paper to the bound papers and close the book carefully. With the hot glue unless it gets really hot I suggest gluing it in short segments. Leave it under a few books to dry.

Glue Gun Method

1. Where we attached the pages with spray glue I used hot glue instead. And at the end instead of white glue I used hot glue again. That's pretty much it. This method is obviously easier, but it looks rougher and hot glue doesn't allow you the flexibility to lift and realign things a bit.

2. Than you use double sided tape to secure the rest of the page to the cover.

White Glue Method:

1. You can probably do this all with white glue but I would be worried about wrinkles and it doesn't stick well to masking tape.

If you wanted a plain base cover, you're done! It's usable. I still suggest you add a changeable cover to protect the masking tape spine, but yeah... I need to find a better tape. If you use something different or wider you probably won't have this problem.

Step 9: Fabric Covers

This should be done between Steps 7 and 8. If you want rounded corners, go do that before gluing the pages to the cover. At the end of this instructable I've made a list of all the extra hacks/mods I later and you can find the instructions there.

You can still see my original failed version and some other tips in the next step.

Sorry for not labeling the pictures above. Just didn't have time. The process is pretty understandable though. Actually doing it is the hardest part of this entire instructable... but the point wasn't for it to be easy.

1. Get your two covers and space them out the distance the spine should be (unless you've already used masking tape to determine that) on top of the fabric you'll be using.

2. Mark an outline all around about an inch or so from the edges. If you didn't use masking tape mark where the covers will be placed.

3. Prepare your working area.

4. Cut out a spraying template like the one in Step 8,but smaller. About the length of the shortest side of the cover and 1/4 of an inch wide. Also make a smaller spraying template with just a tiny 1x1 cm square.

5. Spray the cardboard covers and place/align onto fabric.

6. Start making your way around the cover with the spray templates. Spray the cardboard, fold the fabric. Cut off extra fabric as necessary, especially around corners. They're evil whether they're rounded or not. Use the square spraying template to help you get tight spots in corners. If the spots are really tight, spray some glue somewhere to form a small puddle, rip a small piece of cardboard and brush the glue on wherever you need it.

7. Be sure to wait for your fingers or gloves to dry before folding each section. Also pay attention you don't lay the book on any glue. In an emergency let the glue dry and see if it will rub off with another piece of fabric or an eraser.

8. If the fabric doesn't seem to be sticking be patient and hold it down. The spray adhesive is somewhat slow drying (which is a good thing in this case because it will let you make small adjustments.

9. With a blade/craft knife even out the fabric all around were it was not glue down.

9. Continue with Step 9. In the pictures you might notice I did Step 9 out of order here and glue the cream merging pages to the bound pages first than folded them to the cover. This was just because my rebinding was a bit weird (this was the very first book I made) so yeah...

Step 10: Failed Fabric Cover and How to Tear Pages From Binding

What I did was to spray the back of the cover with the spray glue afterStep 7 and wrap the fabric around it. Turned the book over, sprayed some glue on the fabric flaps and glued those down, than continued on to Step 8 as normal.

Problems:

1. I used my hands and I should have used gloves or something. My hands got all sticky. Glue got all over the black construction paper I used here. The tape and the white piece of paper is covering the places where glue got on.

2. The fabric was the wrong type for the book. It absorbed the glue to readily creating dark spots. also the fabric attracted lots of dust and lint.

3. I made the spine way to thin. The book wouldn't close. The bound pages were a cm and I made the spine only a cm. And because I needed to have the book usable and ready I cut the spine and rebound it in masking tape.

Rebinding:

The easy way is to just hold the pages and pull the front and back covers away. But as you can see in the picture this will take a page with it. If you plan to rebind a lot use extra pages when binding. Make the book 100 something pages.

The other way is to cut the folded page that connects the bound pages (in this case the black construction paper) but if this paper is decorative like in the picture you'll be left with a random piece of paper.

Now just make a new cover and glue like usual.

To merge multiple books together I'm assuming you could just do it with a thing strip of glue and then remelting the hot glue back to connect them properly, but I have not tried this.

Step 11: Paper Cover

1. Take one piece of paper and 1 of the cover pieces. Place the piece onto the paper. Wrap the paper around all edges of the cover, taping it down as necessary. For the corners I cut of pieces as necessary. Sorry I didn't take pictures of the process when I did it. I'll try to get some soon when I rebind the sketchbook you see here.

2. Do the same with the other cover.

3. Do the other cover than continue with Step 7.

4. If you want you could also cover the spine with something after Step 7. A different color paper? Or just used color masking tape from the start (like the one you use to paint walls). Maybe use double sided tape to secure it? Or glue?

Step 12: Changeable/Replaceable Cover Jacket

1. Get the covers you printed and 2 more pieces of paper.

2. Wrap the paper around the cover like shown, fold it only slightly.

3. Slip the paper off and fold it properly.

4. Fold the outer edge at the desired distance.

5. Trim the paper that folds inward. Make sure that if you'll be using double sided tape to hold them down later that it will fit.

6. Trim the corners a bit.

5. Place this paper on top of the book and mark where it hits the spine.

6. Tear the paper there creating two small flaps.

7. Tape these flaps down. I forgot to in the pictures, had to do it later, and the spine suffered a bit of damage.

8. Get your two pieces of blank paper and cut them so that they'll fit inside the folded paper.

9. Glue or tape the edges to it, sort of creating an envelope.

10. Repeat the steps with the back cover.

11. Slip on of the "envelopes" on. You might have to fold the parts with the flaps back first. With one of the paper covers mark where the edge of the spine is like in the picture, slip it off, cut that part we marked off.

12. Slip the cover back on, than slip the other one on. Mark where it hits the middle of the spine, slip it off, cut, slip it back on, than mark on the other cover where it ends.

13. Slip both off, glue together with white glue. Yes that seem will stay unless you can get your hands on really large pieces of paper and print it at the perfect distance. If it bothers you a lot, you can probably glue a darker piece of paper around the spine to make it look more like a bound book.

15. Fold the cardboard covers of the book away from it and slowly, inch by inch, gently slip the cover on.

Step 13: Further Notes

I've done quite a few of these now and have become quite the expert. I'm thinking of re-doing the instructable. I'll leave this one up, but the new one is going to be neater, the things I've wondered about, I've tried, and I got a tripod for my camera so I might be able to film it. But since that will take a while, here are some of the things I've tired.

  • For binding softcovers, manilla envelops or similar strength construction paper works really well. Canvas paper which I was excited to try, not so much. The top layer wears off and trying to repaint it white does not work.
  • If anybody was wondering, no, you cannot have a hard spine. Because the pages are not sewn together, they aren't flexible, so the spine must be flexible instead. I've tried very thin cardboard but that doesn't work well either.
  • Using white glue for paper covers ALWAYS makes you end up with bubbles, even if you coat the entire cover with glue, and you iron it, and it looks good. Just wait till it really dries. Nope, doesn't work at all.
  • If you use fabric to strengthen the spine it makes rebinding a bit harder as you have to cut the fabric (which I assume you stuck the extra flaps to the outside part of the construction paper which then attaches to the cover and isn't seen as that will keep the binding from falling apart).

Step 14: You're Done

Hope my instructable was clear, this is my first one. I'm not quite sure how good I am at explaining, sometimes I think I write way too much. Hopefully the pictures clear up most of my instructions.

Feel free to comment/ask questions, but I don't check instructables that much. I prefer to be contacted at my blog's ask. alantherobot.tumblr.com/ask. I also post most new news about projects there under the DIY or sometimes the My Art Tag.

If you'd like to reblog the instructable on tumblr or see the entire instructable in one page you can do so HERE.

Mods/Hacks and More Complex "Add Ons" I've developed:

Circular Weekly/Daily/Monthly Planner Pages/Booklet 1st Picture Above

Rounded Corners 2nd-3rd Pictures

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    6 Discussions

    love this!! i changed it up a bit by not adding the grooves, and it worked okay. but i applied like 5 different types of craft glues for the binding, plus a gluestick in 3 intervals (craft glue 1-3, dry overnight, glue stick, dry for 15 min, craft glue 4 + 5,dry overnight, gluestick, dry 15 min, repeat 3 more times. you didn't explain too much at all! loved the detail and photos. would totally recommend this to a friend!!

    2 replies

    Yeah it works without the grooves. I just added those for extra durability. Book publishers do something similar to paperbacks by cutting off the back roughly so that glue adheres better. Still, I've found this still doesn't work well with thick books (larger than a cm). After some use some pages start to detach. Since I made this I found a way to cut off the edges formed with traditional sewn bindings without a guillotine. The edges were the major reason I came up with this (the key is a ruler and going very very lightly almost one page at a time). So since that I've been binding traditionally. I might make a mini tutorial someday.

    Thanks. I didn't really know if it was very good. Sometimes I feel I explain too much or I'm too confusing (that's why there's so many pictures). I'm glad you think it came out well.